The U.S. House of Representatives passed two measures Monday sponsored by Congressman John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13), sending one for signature by President Joe Biden and the other to the Senate.
Biden is expected to sign the 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (SALE) Act, which calls for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “to release previously auctioned bands of electromagnetic spectrum” to expand access to 5G broadband in rural areas, Joyce said.
The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, a package including Joyce’s bill to refund community health centers, is on its way to the Senate for consideration, he said.
“We, in south central Pennsylvania, are in the digital divide,” Joyce said Monday. “In rural areas of Bedford County, we don’t have that necessary coverage.”
Since the Senate passed its version of the 5G SALE Act in September, as introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), Joyce said the bill will no go before U.S. President Joe Biden to sign into law within 10 days.
“As we look to provide resources for remote work, remote learning, and telehealth care for patients, the 5G SALE Act will be a vital tool for deploying fast and reliable internet access. I’m proud to see this legislation pass unanimously and I look forward to seeing it signed into law."
Joyce said he sought to “cut the red tape and bridge the digital divide.”
From farmers using precision agriculture in their fields to students trying to study from home, high-speed internet can impact residents in different ways, according to Joyce.
“As we look to provide resources for remote work, remote learning, and telehealth care for patients, the 5G SALE Act will be a vital tool for deploying fast and reliable internet access. I’m proud to see this legislation pass unanimously and I look forward to seeing it signed into law,” Joyce said.
The 5G SALE Act gives the FCC “a one-time, temporary authorization to issue licenses purchased in auctions in order to speed the delivery of 5G technology to rural communities,” according to a release issued by Joyce.
After selling about 8,000 licenses to give internet providers access to America’s broadband spectrum, the FCC’s ability to authorize the use of the radio waves lapsed “during the period between when providers paid” and when the licenses should have been parceled out, according to the release.
“These licenses are the only way companies can legally use the radio waves that bring 5G internet to customers,” the release reads.